Categories: SPORT

Changes loom for defensive wall on free-kicks

Changes loom for defensive wall on free-kicks as lawmakers eye new rule to prevent attacking interference

  • Law change to free-kicks was put to The International Football Association Board
  • The adjustment aims to stop attackers being involved in the defensive wall 
  • Six votes from eight are required to rubber-stamp the change to the laws 

Mike Keegan For Mailonline

Attacking players joining the wall at free-kicks is set to become a thing of the past.

Football’s lawmakers are meeting on Saturday in Aberdeen, where they are expected to outlaw the manoeuvre from next season.

The measure is one of a number expected to be brought in by the International FA Board (IFAB), along with new wording for the handball rule.

The new law would prevent attackers from getting involved in the defensive wall

Putting your own players into the wall for your own free-kick is commonplace throughout the game. On Wednesday night, three Arsenal men lined up with their Bournemouth counterparts during their Premier League clash at the Emirates. The trio managed to cause substantial disruption and create room before Alexandre Lacazette curled the ball into the top corner for the Gunners fifth goal in a 5-1 victory.

However, the new rule will mean that players from the attacking team will have to be at least one metre away from the wall when a free-kick is being taken.

Concacaf president Victor Montagliani, one of Fifa’s four representatives on IFAB, welcomed the move. ‘I think it will be a good improvement to the laws of the game,’ he said.

Changes to the wording on the handball rule will also be passed in an attempt to end confusion over what constitutes deliberate contact of hand with ball.

Wilmar Barrio headbutted Jordan Henderson amid pushing in the wall at the World Cup

It is hoped the new wording will reduce existing grey areas around the offence, with areas when non-deliberate contact will be penalised identified.

Elsewhere, the ruling that goalkeepers are not allowed to pass the ball to their own players when they are inside the penalty area is also set to be changed, with the ball coming into play for both sides as soon as it is played.

IFAB are also expected to ensure that players being substituted will have to leave the field of play from the nearest point on the touchline rather than the halfway line, in a bid to cut down on time-wasting.


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